back to articles | April 02, 2024 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying

What Car Should You Buy: How to Find the Right Car for You

Owning a car is exciting; it's a dream come true for most people. However, you must find the right vehicle for the excitement to last. Choosing the right car is a significant decision that will greatly impact your daily life, budget, and overall satisfaction. 


Owning a car is exciting; it's a dream come true for most people. However, you must find the right vehicle for the excitement to last. Choosing the right car is a significant decision that will greatly impact your daily life, budget, and overall satisfaction.

Nevertheless, with so many makes and models available, selecting the right vehicle can be confusing for most people, especially first-time car buyers. This guide will cover everything you need to know to find the right car easily.

What car should you buy?

There is nothing like the 'right' car for everyone - it depends on your needs and lifestyle. A vehicle perfect for a college student may differ from what a parent needs. Here are the factors you should consider to determine the right car for you.

Your needs based on lifestyle

The first step in finding the right car for you is to assess your needs. What exactly will you use the vehicle for? Here are the key aspects to consider when evaluating your needs;

Will you use the vehicle for your daily commute?

First, consider how often you'll use the car and the distance you'll cover. If you need a car for daily commute, you may want a fuel-efficient car.

Where will you use the car?

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, consider a vehicle with off-road capabilities. However, if you live in the city, you may lean towards compact cars with easy maneuverability and parking. The nature of the roads where you will be driving will highly influence the type of car you choose.

Do you have passengers?

If you regularly drive with passengers inside your car, you have to consider the sitting capacity. For instance, if you need car seats for your younger kids, you'll need a car that fits the seats easily. If you are a parent with a large family and the kids are older, you'll need a large car with enough head and legroom, even in the second and third rows.

Cargo requirements

How much space do you need for your cargo? If you use the car for long road trips, you'll need enough space for your luggage and any gear you may need. In addition, consider tow capabilities if you'll need to tow load. A spacious SUV that can carry all your camping gear and outdoor equipment is perhaps the most suitable for a solo road trip.

Safety and tech features

Safety should be a top priority when buying a car. Look for vehicles with advanced safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, lane departure warning, and collision avoidance systems. From there, decide what other features you want. Do you want climate control, heated seats, Apple CarPlay, or in-car Wi-Fi? Keep in mind most advanced features are available in higher trims.

The type of car

After assessing your needs, it's time to think of the type of car you want. Do you prefer an electric, hybrid, or gasoline-powered vehicle? Electric vehicles are a big trend now. They are cheaper to run and environmentally friendly. However, they are the most expensive to buy, have limited driving range, and require access to a charging station.

Hybrid electric vehicles combine the benefits of an EV and gasoline vehicles. They can operate on electricity for short distances and switch to gasoline engines for longer trips, and they do not need to be plugged in like EVs.

With your needs in mind and how you want your car to be powered, now explore different car body styles.

    Sedans: Great for fuel efficiency and maneuverability, ideal for daily commutes. SUVs/crossovers: Offer a blend of space, comfort, and capability for various terrains. Trucks: Prioritize utility with the power to haul cargo and tow trailers. Minivans: Perfect for families with exceptional passenger and cargo space. Sports cars: These are for driving enthusiasts who prioritize performance.

The actual cost of car ownership

After identifying the type of car you want based on your needs, it's time to set a budget. How much are you willing to spend? This is not just the sticker price at the dealership, as you also need to include;


Whether buying a new or used car, you must have insurance to drive legally in almost all states. In fact, most dealerships will only allow you to leave with your vehicle if you have proof of insurance. State-mandated auto insurance ensures drivers can handle the financial loss and responsibility that can come with the risk of driving a car.

According to Forbes, the average cost of full coverage as of March 2024 is $2,150 and $467 for minimum coverage. While you can opt for the minimum coverage if you buy the car in cash, your lender will require you to take full coverage for financed vehicles.

Cost of fuel or charging

In addition to insurance, you need to consider the cost of fueling or charging the car. And with the cost of gas still very high, you must include this so that you don't buy a 'perfect' vehicle and then end up parking it at home most of the time because you can afford to fuel. 


All vehicles need regular maintenance to improve functionality and prevent expensive repairs. A gasoline car requires more maintenance than an electric vehicle. Of course, EVs require regular maintenance for things like tires, brakes, and cleaning. However, electric cars typically cost half as much to maintain and repair as gasoline-powered vehicles.

New vs. used car

A used car will be your best bet when working with a tighter budget. Although they lack the charisma of a brand-new vehicle, they are cheaper to buy and insure, and some come with warranties. However, they are quite risky because the owners may not have disclosed why they sold the car, and you might get unpleasant surprises. They also have higher mileage and lack more advanced features.

New cars, on the other hand, offer more benefits. It's more reliable because it has a manufacturer warranty and, of course, you are its first owner. It also has more advanced features and attractive financing deals. However, the cost of ownership is usually higher, and the cars depreciate faster than used ones.

Buying in cash vs. through car loan

Considering the above costs, think of how you'll pay for the car. Buying cash is the cheapest way to own a car. However, with the high cost of vehicles, most people can't afford to buy in cash. They turn to banks, credit unions, financing marketplaces like myAutoloan, or dealerships for car loans.

When purchasing a vehicle through financing, there's so much to consider. You need to identify the best place to get the loan. While a dealership may be the most convenient place to get a car loan, they are usually the most expensive. Talk to several financial institutions to identify the one with the lowest interest rate and favorable loan terms.

Moreover, when buying a car through financing, some people tend to go overboard and purchase expensive models just because they qualify for a larger loan. According to financial experts, your total vehicle monthly expense should be at most 20% of your net income (including car loan, insurance, gas, and repair). Even if you qualify for more loans than you need, don't be greedy and stick to your budget. Moreover, make a down payment to reduce your monthly payment.

Shopping for a car

Once you have a broad idea of the car you want, go to vehicle comparison websites and check reviews of your favorite cars. Check prices in your area so that you have an idea of how much you'll pay. If you are buying through financing, this will be an excellent time to check out several financing institutions to see who offers you an auto loan with the lowest interest rates. If you don't have a good credit score, consider waiting several months to build it to get better rates and terms.

Once you've secured financing, visit a dealership and test drive your top three preferred vehicles. Check all important specs and choose the right vehicle for you.

Final thoughts

The best car for you is the one that ticks most of your boxes and fits comfortably within your budget. Do your research, test drive some vehicles, and negotiate. After all, a car is a huge expense, so there's no room for mistakes.